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February 07, 2009 - Running Away with Art for ArtReach

What: Dine & D'art

Where: Denver Museum of Nature & Science

When: Saturday, February 7, 2009

Time: 6:30 p.m. -- 11 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $400 for two for dinner and a selection of artwork

Beneficiary: ArtReach

Honoree(s): Bernadette Berger and Ryta Sondergard

EMCEE: Bertha Lynn, KMGH

Executive Director: Karla Johnson-Grimes

Committee Members: HONORARY CHAIRPERSON: Dean Prina, M.D., GALA CHAIRS: Karye Wilhelm, Marc Cutilletta, Nancy Cole; DINNER COMMITTEE: Karye Wilhelm (Chair), Christine Kennedy, Noelle Riccardella; SPONSORSHIP COMMITTEE: Marc Cutilletta (Chair), Karla Johnson-Grimes, Barrett Miller, Tricia Schmuki; VOLUNTEERS AND LOGISTICS COMMITTEE: Karla Johnson-Grimes and Jamie Neuhart; ART COMMITTEE: Nancy Cole and Cindy Hayes (Co-Chairs), Chris Barber, Alicia Goranson, Carrie Loeffler, Kristen "Kiki" Kaufman, Terry Nelson, Dean Prina, M.D., Denise Seery; MARKETING AND PR COMMITTEE: Molly Ross (Chair), Cindy Bell, Voradel Carey, Carol Dawson, Barbara Reasoner; TICKETING COMMITTEE: Tami Lack

Staff: Karla Johnson-Grimes, Executive Director; Tricia Schmuki, Director of Development; Sarah Gulinska, Director of Programs; Arianne Thompson, Administrative Assistant

Entertainment: Live auction with Master Auctioneer Gary Corbett and "dashing" for art

Sponsors: ABC Custom Framing, Al's Formalwear, Browstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Christie's, Cimarex, Delta Construction, denver magazine, Don Bain, Egg & D'art, Ltd., Le Point de Rendezvous, Meininger, Mercedes Benz of Littleton, Palettes, smooth business systems, Sprint Press, Vans, Wine Source

Auctioneer: Gary Corbett - Auctioneer

Menu: Tomatoes with Buffalo mozzarella, Caesar salad, yellow corn polenta with roasted red pepper cream sauce, seared marinated breast of chicken with tomato balsamic reduction, filet of Tilapia with Pino Grigio wine/caper butter sauce, braised root vegetables, green beans with bacon and sautéed onions

Attendance: 300

Attire: Black tie and running shoes

Donors: CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS AND COLLECTIONS: Agnes Sanchez, Amy Barone, Ann Phillips, Barbara Reasoner, Beth Sand, Betty Wolfe, Bob Coates, Brandy Brogan, Brian Comber, Bruce Zander, Carla Hosey/Contributor, Carol Heitz, Charity Szana, Cherry Creek Custom Framing/Contributor, Chris Schranck, CT Nelson, Dan Ericson "Signtologist", Danielle Reubenstein, Darcy Lewis, Dawn Boyd, Dean Prina/Contributor (John Craig: Artist), Dean Prina/Contributor (Tracy Weil: Artist), Deidre Hardin, Dr. & Mrs. Dorry/Contributor, Douglas Rouse, Ed Dwight, Eddie Mize, Elizabeth Mahler Licence, Eric Anthony Hinds, Eric Halborg, Eric Matelski, Eric Ringsby, Erin Brumleve, Errol Beauchamp, Fascination St. Fine Art/Contributor, George Dorry, Grace Gallery Fine Art/Contributor (Carol Broere:Artist), Homare Ikeda, Ivy Haldeman, Jeff Erwine, Jennifer Mosquera, John Plessinger, Joroko, Josh Ellis, Julie Conway, Kang Cho, Katherine Chick, Katie Hoffman, Kay Ray, Kenn Martin, Laurie Maves, Lamecia Landrum, Li Hardison, Lisa Strandjord, Macy Dorf, Mario Acevedo, Matt Jaramillo, Maverick Pottery Shop/Mark Rittman, Michael John Dowling, Michelle Barnes, Molly Ross, Norman Cable, Ray Young Chu, Robin Whatley, Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum/Contributor, Ron Marko, Rosa Chick, Sean Thompson, Shelley Howard, Sueko Yamada, Susan Smith, Susiehyer, Sydney Summers, TACtile/Rochelle Jay, Tam O'Neill Fine Arts/Contributor, Teresa Roberts Logan, Timothea Biermann, Todd Clough, Tonia Bonnell, Tony Ortega, Trevor Marrs, Vence DeHerrera/Bonnie Brae Designer of Fine Jewelry, Victor Sanchez, The Emmanuel Family donating work of Lee Milmon

Board of Directors: Jean Bushong, Marc Cutilletta, Molly Ross, Voradel Carey, Cindy Bell, Nancy Cole, Ellen Gysin, Kevin Fonk, Terry Nelson, Noelle Riccardella

Blacktie Photos by: Danielle Corriveau

 ArtReach Board of Directors co-chairs Marc Cutilletta, left, and Molly Ross, far right, are proud to take a photo with Ginger Merelli Special Event Award Honoree Ryta Sondergard
ArtReach Board of Directors co-chairs Marc Cutilletta, left, and Molly Ross, far right, are proud to take a photo with Ginger Merelli Special Event Award Honoree Ryta Sondergard

Few people at this black tie event complained about having to wear uncomfortable shoes. In fact, many of them wore shoes made for moving quickly, which was the point. ArtReach put a new spin on its anniversary celebration by hosting “Dine & D’art” and at the end of this delicious, unique fundraising event – the first of its kind in Denver – guests left with a piece of gallery quality artwork. 

Dreamlike paintings, crisp photographs, decorated laptops, polka dot painted chairs, and delicately detailed quilts filled the atrium of Denver’s Museum of Nature and Science. Three hundred people reviewed the works before game planning which one they were going to run away with – literally.

Like calling squares at a bingo game the event’s main activity opened with Dine & D’art co-chair Karye Wilhelm drawing and calling a guest’s name. That person then had 20 seconds to dash to his or her desired piece of art before the next name was called. Guests bounced in anticipation of hearing their name. Spectators cheered from the second floor. 

“I felt like I was in Chariots of Fire,” said dasher David Heitman. He was one of the first names called and cut a path straight to a painting spied earlier that night. The artist, Shelley Howard, was at the event and was equally pleased to thank him for choosing her work.

Tickets for Dine & D’art sold for $400 per couple with each pair guaranteed to leave with artwork valued at more than the ticket price. The fare also included a delicious dinner and dessert as tastefully diverse as the art.

Many patrons donned hand-painted athletic shoes purchased prior to the event through ArtReach. Designs included bright colors, dots, and lines as well as golf clubs, flowers and fantasy. Each pair was guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind creation.

Prior to sprinting, there was celebrating. The organization earned bragging rights by giving back more than $37 million in programs to the community and serving greater than 2.7 million people since its inception. Denver’s Mayor John Hickenlooper tipped his hat to the achievement and extended a proclamation honoring February 7, 2009 as ArtReach’s 35th Anniversary Day.

Along with celebrating ArtReach, two incredibly dedicated women were honored. ArtReach Board of Directors co-chair Marc Cutilletta presented Ryta Sondergard the Ginger Merelli Special Event Award, named after longtime supporter of the non-profit.

“Any non-profit knows that if Ryta is behind an event it will always be a success. The event will not only make money, but it will be fun,” said Cutilletta.

The ArtStar Award went to Bernadette Berger, who has been a loyal supporter of ArtReach for more than a decade. Berger believes that visual arts, as well as music, poetry and literature, refresh and enrich lives and her mission is to share that vision with all. Teary-eyed and beaming with pride, her daughter Cindy Hayes read heartfelt letters from the many people who congratulated Bernadette on this award. In addition to hosting the ArtReach Ultimate Dinner Party fundraisers in 2001 and 2003, Berger gives time to the Denver Art Museum, The Huntington Library, The Met, The Smithsonian, Yale University Art Gallery, Save Venice, and others.  Each year she hosts the Friends of Painting and Sculpture patron party, funding the Bernadette J. Berger Discovery Library and the William M.B. Berger Western Discovery Library at the Denver Art Museum.

KMGH’s Bertha Lynn echoed a theme heard in many of the letters. “Bernadette, we are better for having you in our community.” 

After the applause for the award winners quieted, Auctioneer Gary Corbett stepped onto the stage. His hummingbird-fast, rapid-fire performance fired up the crowd for the live auction. Four items went up for bid: two collector pieces of art generously donated by Alexandra Hoy, a private dinner party hosted by ArtReach Board of Directors co-chair Molly Ross and a gallery cocktail party hosted by ArtReach Executive Director Karla Johnson-Grimes. The grouping brought in thousands of dollars for the organization.

The mission of ArtReach is to change lives through the arts by providing access to arts and cultural experiences to Denver’s underserved and at-risk. The organization’s programs impact more than 70,000 individuals each year and allow families who face economic, social or physical challenges the opportunity to experience the arts.

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